Do I try harder or call it quits?

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    I am 44 years old and my 3rd serious relationship is going bad after only 18 months together.
    He was my boss in a high stress job. He is generous, funny and loving and at the time made me feel confident and secure and very loved . It was easy to fall for him and we were so in love. He moved in with me.
    After 3 months he was asked and wanted to transfer to main headquarters in the city over 700km away from home. I was torn, I loved him so much. I initially said I couldn’t go as I lived on a small farm with loads of animals and this place meant the world to me, as I am a county girl who loves my animals, space and solitude. He was disapointed and said he wouldnt go if I didn’t want to.
    I knew how much this job meant to him, so I changed my mind and agreed to a 12 month stint to see how it would go and I got a house sitter to look after the farm and animals. It was one of the hardest things to do in my life. I hated the city and the job and ended up having a breakdown after homesickness and the death of one of my beloved pets back home. His way to make me happy was to spend money on me and to take me out to dinner often. Money was flying out the window.
    Things started to go bad for him at work with stress getting to him and the job not being as he expected. This made his heart problem worse also, so he ended up resigning from that job and we moved back home after only 7 months and he went back to work at the same company but in a much reduced role. I was so happy to be home and he was enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle. He quit the job altogether after month and we went on a short holiday using money we had saved.
    He took far too long to find another job when we got back ( I still have a job in the same company) and I was starting to stress about it as he seemed to have little concern for money even though it was running out fast. I still had a mortgage to pay and my wages was not enough to cover it.
    He now has another job that pays half of what his original job did, thats ok, he loves this job and it is way less stressful. But he still thinks we can live like we did before and we just scape by with me always doing the scrimping and saving and not spending on unnesessary things. When I bring money matters up, things like planning for the future, savings goals etc. he gets defensive and says money isn’t everything, and he had loads of it once and had all the luxurys and he don’t care for it now. I started to have a huge red flag moment here as while it doesn’t bother me to live a modest life and I rarely spend money on myself and hardly ever go out, I do need a financial plan and security so I can pay my mortgage and feed the animals etc. (I have no kids).
    Then he asked me if his 17 yo son could move in with us for a while as he was starting to go off the rails while living with his mum. (He was paying maintenance for him while he was living with his mum). I was horrified just quietly, as this was the last thing I needed as my anxiety and stess levels were going up with our relationship issues. He hasn’t asked his mother for any maintenance money. Anyway things have gone from bad to worse with another tragic pet death and me not having any luck finding a second job, and having another person in the house to cook and clean for I had another breakdown and went into deep deppression, shutting out my partner as it was the only way I knew how to cope.
    He thinks my deppression is why I can’t cope with his son and why I worry about money so much. But it is the other way around! He loves me dearly and wants to do whatever it take to stay together, but they are all words and no action. Is it too much want his son out of my house when I cant cope. Is it right for him to put his son before us. His son smokes and drinks daily and isn’t trying hard enough to find permanant work. He doesn’t give me any grief peronally and pretty much keeps to himself. I feel like my home and space has been invaded and I can’t act carefree and loving to my partner anymore.
    We were so happy and he still loves me to bits, I don’t know what to do as my feelings for him (and respect) are fading fast. I know I do have anxiety and worry issues and that I could be about to make it a whole lot worse if I ask him to leave as without his support I will probably lose my farm and my animals. Fear is paralising me and I would rather be dead than to lose my home and sanctuary.
    Any ideas how to fix this please.


    Hi Sultana,

    Let’s take a look at this. You have done 100% of the compromising and it’s worn you out and undermined your financial stability. This guy (and his kid) are on the gravy train because you are really a nice & generous person.

    I’m really sorry that things went seriously south for him with his job and career; clearly he was wounded by that sequence of events and lost his momentum. BUT, this is not about him, it’s about you.

    If you still think it can work out after this much damage, may I suggest that you lay down some ground rules and boundaries, especially for the kid who is in your precious home (17 and smoking/drinking??!). First and foremost, put a deadline on the financial bleeding. Give the man two weeks to get real about money. Lay it out in black and white for him. Draw up a budget and stick to it especially if you want to stay with him. Second, tell the father that it is not acceptable for his child to be running roughshod over your lifestyle under your roof!

    Most importantly, you need to keep your money for yourself and your lifestyle (farm, pets). You have a future to plan for and must provide and plan for yourself. No one else is going to do that for you, not him at any rate, he loves to dine out but that is not going to pay the mortgage. He may be over “luxury” items and want a simpler life, sure, you are the one keeping a roof over his head. No disrespect, but he is sounding a wee bit deluded about reality.

    The good news: Every couple must negotiate these financial matters. Love is great, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

    Lay down the law before you lose your mind, your love for him and your chosen lifestyle. Did he help you originally by the farm and animals? If so, it’s a bit more complicated because you are/were dependent on him to manifest your dream to begin with. If that’s the case, you may have to downsize here and there, but you can build back up later. Better to do what you have to do and not go under than to lose the whole place.

    Good luck, please write and let us know how it turns out.


    Hi Sojourner, thank you for your insight. I know I have done some compromising but in my mind it is his wages paying the mortgage and I pay the bills etc, so I’m not sure how balanced this all is. Also, he came into the relationship with money from his divorce and put a fair bit of it into my mortgage, but we are still spending more that we earn and eating into this money and because it was his money I feel reluctant to go on about it. It is my property from a previous relationship, that I had to fight tooth and nail to keep. I feel it is very generous of him to pay the mortgage when his name is not on the title.
    As far as his son goes I did lay down rules such as no smoking anywhere near the house as I can’t tolerate the smell, but he smokes just outside and I do smell it and he comes in reeking of it. The drinking I feel is none of my business as long as he doesn’t get drunk. I would never tolerate it if he were my child though. He is not a mouthy or rude teen so I am grateful for that. He does not have his drivers licence yet so my partner also spends a lot of time taking him to town on weekends that also eats into our alone time together that I really miss.
    I must have painted him as a spendthrift, but I must clarify it is more talk of buying this and that now that actually spending the money. He has reined it in, but I feel only because he knows it stresses me out not because we need to watch what we spend. I feel like a scrooge always saying, no we can’t afford it, then angry that he doesn’t realise it.
    Honestly, if I were to get a second job tomorrow, I feel I would tell him it’s over even if it meant I had to eat 3 minute noodles to get by. But that’s when the guilt sets in. He has nowhere to go and he has a heart operation due next month. ( a big expense that can’t be helped). It would be so much easier to sort this out and get back to the way we were. I worry that even if he did tell his son to move back to his mums or wherever, he would resent me for it and I don’t want that.
    I don’t feel confident to have this talk with him for fear of his response and then mine. This is all I think about 24/7. It’s making me ill.


    Thanks Sojourner.

    Hi Sultana

    We are lacking some clear boundaries in the relationship here. Perhaps, you could lay out what is negotiable and non-negotiable in this relationship.

    Once, your boundaries are clear in your mind, set some time apart to have a heart to heart conversation with your partner. Give him an opportunity to lay out his boundaries. See if you can work through them. If not, you have your answer.

    Have the courage to be honest with yourself. When we are honest with self, all decisions become easy and anxiety doesn’t touch us. If we continue to run away from the outcomes as you would like to sit on the fence, you know where life will take you then, yeah ?

    You are not responsible for anyone else’s health, happiness, well being or peace. The only person who needs your outmost attention is YOU. I hope you will give YOURSELF a serious chance. Once YOU are ok, I promise, life will never feel burdensome or anxiety prone again 🙂




    But here’s the thing…in order for a relationship to will work and last, it needs to be a PARTNERSHIP. Regardless of if you’re married or not, a full-on truly committed relationship is a partnership.

    That means there is no more “mine” and “yours” there is just an “ours”. Everything each partner does affects the other. Financially, relationally, etc.

    It seems like what you’re fighting is to keep things separate, when that’s not really how life works. In my experience, that’s how things get complicated and fights ensure. When it’s all “ours”, money and bills, life gets simpler and it also helps the couple feel like a couple.


    Thank you Jasmine, I have had a lot more clearer thoughts since posting here. It really does help to write it all down. Being honest with yourself is spot on and Lucinda you must have read my mind just a while ago as also had that exact thought and realised that is most of the problem when it comes to money! I have come to a few decisions. I want to give this one more try so in the being honest and setting boundaries department, his son has to move out ASAP. This might seem harsh but apart from growing up with my brothers I have never lived with a third person in my home and I just can’t deal with it and I don’t want to deal with it. I feel it is a certainty our relationship will fail if he stays. If he agrees then I will do up a budget and show him, if not then they will both be gone.(how silly is that for him)
    Don’t you just hate how there is never a good time to have “the talk”. It will be both our birthdays 2 and 3 days time.
    Thank you all for listening, this is the best relationship forum I have come across.


    Good on yah Sultana. World is in your heart now 🙂 and whatever you do will be for your highest good. Happy birthday to you and your partner in advance. Enjoy.


    Saltana, I’m glad this forum has helped guide you to find the right path for you and your relationship. Speaking strictly as a member of the peanut gallery with zero investment in your personal circumstances, I’d respectfully ask you to reconsider the ultimatum about the son. This boy is not some random housemate, he is the son of your partner. It is a parent’s responsibility to care for and nurture his children until they are of the age and ability to make it on their own. At the risk of sounding judgmental, your position that it’s “the son or me” is rather uncompromising and frankly, selfish. You ask “Is it right for him to put his son before us?” I don’t think he’s putting the son BEFORE you, he is fulfilling his parental responsibility. It would seem you are the one attempting to put yourself before the son. Children are not disposable. That’s not to say your partner shouldn’t look to enforce some better rules and boundaries with him. You have every right to live in an environment that enables you to be happy and healthy, so if living with his son does not work for you, so be it. It just seems there should be a way you can work through this together without booting out the child. Forgive me as there is probably a kinder way for me to make this point. I was a child of divorce and it would break my heart to think my dad would choose a relationship with a woman over me. Likewise, I was a loving stepmother to my (now ex) partner’s teenage son. Children deserve to be nurtured and loved, not thrown out with the rubbish to fend for themselves in an enviroment that is clearly distressing (his mother’s house in this case). My best to you.


    Hi Kelly, firstly I can see it looks bad that I want his to son to move out and I questioned the thought for a long time. So I need to clarify a few points that made me come to my decision. He is not a “boy” at 17. He drinks and smokes and has a steady girlfriend he sleeps with. ( she has stayed over several times) He “can” stay with his mother, just because they argue all the time is not my problem.
    If he didn’t waste money on smokes and alcohol he would have enough money from his casual work to share rent with his mates which he would like to do. My partner was putting his son before our relationship because he wouldn’t get his son to follow the boundaries I set that led me to a breakdown.( when he new it would be a difficult adaption for me to have his son stay)
    I have had the big talk with my partner yesterday and told him all of this. He finally could see how all of this was effecting us and we are taking steps to fix things.
    I too was a child of divorce and abuse from my father. I couldn’t wait to live on my own, and so I was at 17 with a live in job. I didn’t rely on my parents for anything. Never have and never will. Each to their own I guess. But it is time for me to be happy so that is what I aim to do 🙂


    Wow Sultana. Now this is what I call a good example of setting clear boundaries, clearing misconceptions, politely advising others to stop being judgmental and minding their own business.

    Woman power to the max. Way to go 🙂


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